It’s easy to install Linux on an existing laptop or desktop computer. But what if you want to save yourself the effort? Is it possible to buy a Linux computer, with your choice of operating system already installed?
Over the past few years, more and more businesses are focusing on Linux users. A few of these companies have made a name for themselves, perhaps by focusing on high end hardware, or developing their own Linux distribution.
If you’re looking for a Linux PC, here are seven places you can find one to buy online right now.
1. Station X [No Longer Available]
Based at the historically significant Bletchley Park in the U.K., Station X has released a range of World War II-themed laptops and desktops. The reason? Bletchley Park is the location of a major breakthrough, where codebreakers, including computer scientist Alan Turing, cracked the Enigma machine.
It is therefore appropriate that Station X has named its current range after a number of 1940s Allied forces aircraft. Station X has a long-term plan to work with several distro developers. The aim is to produce special edition hardware with an operating system that is perfectly tailored.
As such, you can currently purchase the Manjaro Spitfire laptop, with a dedicated version of Manajaro Linux courtesy of the distro’s developers. Other laptops include the Hellcat, Hurricane, Lancaster, and the standard Spitfire model. These devices come with a wide selection of pre-installed Linux operating systems (including Solus and KDE Neon), and various hardware configurations can be selected.
I dropped Station X founder Eddie Vassallo a line to find out more about Station X’s themed hardware.
“As a hardware maker we wanted to ensure the devices were there for people to experience these new distros and DEs in all their glory. The demand and the software are definitely there — we just need to ensure they have the right laptops and desktops to enjoy them!”
Whether you’re looking for a lightweight work machine (the Galaga Pro), a super-fast desktop (the Leopard WS), or a portable gaming workhorse (the Oryx Pro), System76 has a Linux laptop made for you.
In addition to laptops and desktops, System76 also supplies server hardware, alongside a range of accessories and fashion items. One of the biggest names in Linux hardware, System76 has even developed its own Linux distribution called Pop!_OS. This is available on all machines as of October 2017, and is the default OS option. However, you can choose others, such as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or Ubuntu 17.04.
As you’d expect when buying a laptop online, System76’s range can be customized, with a selection of CPU, RAM, and storage options available. Personal finance is also available for help purchasing System76’s superb range of Linux laptops, desktops, and servers.
Not only do Purism offer a range of Linux laptops, their devices are pre-installed with Core OS. This security-focused distro is the perfect solution to online privacy and security worries. In addition, these devices include the proprietary BIOS/UEFI replacement, Coreboot (formerly LinuxBIOS).
Offering a modest choice of three computers (two laptops and a hybrid on preorder), and with a secure smartphone in development, Purism is certainly a company you should be keeping an eye on. None of these computers is ideal for gaming, but they suit most other uses.
Purism’s range isn’t as wide as some of the other suppliers, but there’s still control over the hardware configuration.
Laptops, desktops, and servers are on the menu at ZaReason, the cheapest desktop starting from $549 and the most expensive laptop just over $2,000.
Among the Linux distros you can get pre-loaded on systems from ZaReason are Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Kubuntu, Linux Mint, and educational Linux distro Edubuntu. Looking for server hardware? They come pre-installed with Ubuntu, Debian, or Mint server.
As you’d expect, a range of options are available, with CPU, RAM, Storage, optical drives, water cooling, networking and other selections. Top end models have a choice of Nvidia graphics to suit all needs, and as expected, the alternative is Intel graphics.
Meanwhile, there’s a whole bunch of accessories and gear available from the ZaReason site, including books, monitors, badges, and more.
A great hub for Linux users, Think Penguin has an online store providing a small range of desktop computers. Among the pre-installed distributions, you’ll find Ubuntu (and variants), Linux Mint, Fedora, CentOS, Redhat, and Scientific Linux. Penguin Pro tower desktops offer built-in Intel graphics, with the option to expand via PCI-e. However, you’ll need to make this sort of upgrade after purchasing, as Think Penguin doesn’t install proprietary firmware. Looking for a compact desktop? The Penguin Mini 2, is your ideal solution, limited only by the Intel HD Graphics 620 chip.
Buying a Penguin Pro tower gives you the opportunity to select the hardware configuration, which can considerably increase the base price (as of this writing, around $500).
As is common among Linux hardware suppliers, Think Penguin offer many hardware peripherals and merchandise. These range from audio equipment to networking, printers, and scanners. There’s even a Tux keyboard sticker for the old Windows key, should you install Linux on a Windows PC.
Six devices are available from Spanish online Linux retailer Slimbook. Here, you have a choice of five laptops and one desktop (the Slimbook One, starting from $459). These laptops have interesting names, such as the Slimbook CLASSIC, Slimbook EXCALIBUR, and Slimbook KDE.
Available with a choice of hardware configurations, Slimbook also offers a choice of keyboards. Meanwhile, several operating systems are available. These include Ubuntu, the stunning Elementary OS, openSUSE, and KDE Neon. Curiously for a Linux hardware supplier, Slimbook also offers the option for Windows 10 to be installed (with the appropriate additional fee). Slimbooks also ship with no OS preinstalled. As expected, a number of accessories and peripherals can also be bought from the Slimbook website.
7. Nimbusoft [No Longer Available]
Based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, Nimbusoft “build Laptops and Desktops born to run Linux.” Standard models are available with a choice of operating system (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, or Ubuntu MATE). Ordering online gives you the chance to select from a choice of CPU, RAM, and storage configurations.
At the time of writing, three special editions were available with Ubuntu Budgie pre-installed. The mid-range Bellona laptop (with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics), the Juno laptop, and the Jupiter all-in-one desktop.
In a recent chat, Nimbusoft’s Managing Director Chris Harvey told me that “Ubuntu Budgie will also receive a percentage of the revenue from these machines which will help fund its continued development.” That looks like a great reason to buy your next Linux computer from Nimbusoft!
Buy a Quality Linux Machine Online
A few years ago, it was a struggle to buy a Dell with Linux pre-installed. These days, you can grab a Linux PC or laptop at every turn. This is great news for the platform, and perhaps part of the reason why Linux’s desktop market share continues to grow.
Are you in the market for a new Linux laptop or desktop computer? Do any of these businesses attract you? Or did you already buy from one — if so, how did it go? And do you have any suggestions for online Linux computer stores we have omitted? Leave a message below!